Can Your Apple Watch Detect Sleep Apnea?

setting up an apple watch for sleep mode

Do you snore like a freight train and wake up feeling groggy? You might have sleep apnea, a sneaky sleep disorder that makes you stop breathing while you snooze. It’s not only exhausting but also dangerous for your health.

But don’t worry, your Apple Watch might be able to help you out. This smart gadget can track how well you sleep and how often you breathe at night. It can even alert you if you have signs of sleep apnea that you don’t know about.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how your Apple Watch can be your best buddy for better sleep and breathing. Let’s get started!

So, Can An Apple Watch Really Detect Sleep Apnea?

The Apple Watch is more than just a fancy watch. It’s also a powerful health tracker that can measure your heart rate, blood oxygen, and other vital signs. Further, with the help of some clever apps, it can also monitor your breathing rate while you sleep.

Breathing rate is how many times you inhale and exhale per minute. A normal breathing rate for adults is between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. But if you have sleep apnea, your breathing rate can drop below 10 or even stop for a few seconds.

That’s where your Apple Watch comes in handy. It can detect these changes in your breathing rate and warn you if you have signs of sleep apnea. 

How To Monitor Your Breathing Rate With An Apple Watch

So how do you use your Apple Watch to track your breathing rate at night? It’s easy as pie! Just follow these simple steps:

STEP 1: Check Your Apple Watch’s Compatibility

First things first: make sure your Apple Watch can actually track your breathing rate. Not all models have this feature, so you need to check if yours does.

The good news is that most newer models can do it, like the Series 6 and 7. These models have special sensors and software that can measure your breathing rate and other health stats while you sleep.

STEP 2: Set Up And Turn On “Sleep Mode” At Night

Next, you need to set up and turn on Sleep Mode on your Apple Watch before you hit the hay. This will help your watch track your sleep quality and breathing rate more accurately.

To do this, open the Sleep app on your watch and enter your bedtime and wake-up time. This will help you stick to a regular sleep schedule, which is good for your health.

You can turn on Sleep Mode manually or automatically:

  • To turn it on manually, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the moon icon. Then tap Sleep to start tracking your sleep.
  • To turn it on automatically, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Focus tab. Then tap Sleep Focus to let your watch track your sleep without any hassle.

STEP 3: Open The Health App In The Morning

After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to check how well you slept and how often you breathed. To do this, open the Health app on your iPhone in the morning.

There, you’ll see a summary of your sleep data from last night, including your breathing rate and other metrics like heart rate, blood oxygen, and time asleep.

STEP 4: Check Your Stats

The last step is to check your stats and see if there’s anything unusual about your breathing rate or other health metrics. You can do this in the Sleep section of the Health app.

You’ll find a lot of information about your sleep patterns and quality. You’ll see things like:

  • Your respiratory rate: how many times you breathed per minute while sleeping
  • Your sleep stages: how much time you spent in light, deep, or REM sleep
  • Your sleep cycles: how many times you went through a full cycle of sleep stages
  • Your sleep efficiency: how much time you spent asleep vs awake
  • Your sleep duration: how long you slept in total


So there you have it: how your Apple Watch can spot sleep apnea and help you sleep better. By tracking your breathing rate and other health metrics, your watch can alert you if you have signs of this common yet serious condition.

But remember: your Apple Watch is not a doctor. It can only give you clues, not a diagnosis. If you think you have sleep apnea or any other health issue, you should always see a doctor for professional advice and treatment. Our experts at Sleep & CPAP Center are here to help you. Give us a call today.